“I most humbly entreat your
lordship to give this paper to Sir
Robert Walpole, and desire him to read it, which he may do in a few
minutes. I am, with the greatest respect, my lord,
“most obedient and humble servant,
Scott thinks that had Swift been anxious for personal favours from Walpole he could easily have obtained them; “but the minister did not choose to gain his adherence at the expense of sacrificing the system which had hitherto guided England in her conduct towards the sister kingdom, and the patriot of Ireland was not to be won at a cheaper rate than the emancipation of his country.”
The original pamphlet bears neither date nor printer’s name.
THE PRESENT MISERABLE STATE OF IRELAND.
By the last packets I had the favour of yours, and am surprised that you should apply to a person so ill qualified as I am, for a full and impartial account of the state of our trade. I have always lived as retired as possible; I have carefully avoided the perplexed honour of city-offices; I have never minded anybody’s business but my own; upon all which accounts, and several others, you might easily have found among my fellow-citizens, persons more capable to resolve the weighty questions you put to me, than I can pretend to be.
But being entirely at leisure, even at this season of the year, when I used to have scarce time sufficient to perform the necessary offices of life, I will endeavour to comply with your requests, cautioning you not implicitly to rely upon what I say, excepting what belongs to that branch of trade in which I am more immediately concerned.
The Irish trade is, at present, in the most deplorable condition that can be imagined; to remedy it, the causes of its languishment must be inquired into: But as those causes (you may assure yourself) will not be removed, you may look upon it as a thing past hopes of recovery.
The first and greatest shock our trade received, was from an act passed in the reign of King William, in the Parliament of England, prohibiting the exportation of wool manufactured in Ireland. An act (as the event plainly shews) fuller of greediness than good policy; an act as beneficial to France and Spain, as it has been destructive to England and Ireland. At the passing of this fatal act, the condition of our trade was glorious and flourishing, though no way interfering with the English; we made no broad-cloths above 6s. per yard; coarse druggets, bays and shalloons, worsted damasks, strong draught works, slight half-works, and gaudy stuffs, were the only product of our looms: these were partly consumed by the meanest of our people, and partly sent to the